Arviat a finalist for international tourism award competition
"We love sharing our heritage with visitors"
Arviat Community Ecotourism has been nominated for an international tourism award.
Arviat’s three-year-old tourism program is one of three finalists in the World Travel and Tourism Council’s community award category.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” said Arviat’s tourism coordinator Olivia Tagalik. “I couldn’t believe that a small community in northern Canada made the top 18 finalists in the world, and top three in our category. It’s pretty amazing.”
Arviat was one of 170 tourism bodies nominated for the council’s awards.
Since the hamlet hired its first tourism coordinator in 2011, Tagalik has grown a circle of people to help share what must be done in the community, from throat singers to artists and hunters, while others are being trained in hospitality.
Many of Arviat’s “tourist attractions” are planned trips to historical sites, polar bear watching or boat excursions in the summer months.
In a description on its website, the WTTC says that “Arviat has exemplified strong cross community and stakeholder participation in devising and developing its tourism product.”
“I think ACE was chosen because the judging panel recognized what the community is trying to achieve,” Tagalik said. “We have been working towards sustainable tourism and preserving Inuit culture. We love sharing our heritage with visitors.”
It also helps that Arviat is one of the most accessible Arctic communities, hence its tourism slogan “Canada’s accessible Arctic.”
The second phase of WTTC’s judging includes an on-site evaluation. Winners and finalists will be recognized at an April gala in Hainan, China.
“I hope that this will bring more visitors to Arviat,” Tagalik said. “This a great thing for not only the community but Nunavut as a whole.”
In 2012, 24 visitors came to Arviat; in 2013, that number rose to 220, thanks to a cruise ship visit.